Nearly 740 wrong-way drivers have been reported on Arizona freeways this year according to the state Department of Public Safety.
“This isn’t multiple calls. This is incidents,” DPS Director Col. Frank Milstead said. “We only count one call per incident. This isn’t 50 people called in on one guy.” Milstead said his agency had received calls about eight wrong-way drivers in the past 24 hours alone.
One of those slammed into another car head-on Tuesday night on State Route 51, killing two and injuring one. Of the hundreds of wrong-way driving incidents that have been reported this year, four have been in fatal crashes and eight others have involved injuries. Nearly 40 of the drivers have been arrested.
Milstead claims that Arizona is on the forefront of making changes to prevent wrong-way drivers. (Note: This is a complete lie.)
“As a state, we’re trying to do everything we can and keep people alive,” he said. (Note: Not sure why he is saying this.)
Milstead explained the Arizona Department of Transportation was mulling ideas to add a two-part system of lights that would let drivers know they are driving the wrong way or a type of photo enforcement at the bottom of ramps. (“Mulling”??? What exactly does that mean? It means thinking about it but doing nothing.)
But Milstead said the state can only do so much. Some of the responsibility falls squarely on the public. (Yep. There you go. Blame the victim.) “I think all too often people want to make this a road design issue or an enforcement issue,” he said. “There are obviously places where we can do better in both of those areas, but, really, this is a social responsibility issue.”
Milstead is wrong. It is also a road design and law enforcement issue. And on that front, Arizona has failed miserably.
ADOT has a responsibility to all drivers on the public roadways to provide reasonable measures for safety. Over the years, there have literally been HUNDREDS of these wrong way crashes, and it seems that they are getting more frequent. In 1985, the California Department of Transportation studied the problem and enacted measures that have cut their number of wrong-way crashes by more than 50%. Did ADOT do the same? Nope. Nada. Zip.
Not all crashes can be prevented. ADOT cannot guaranty safety on the roads. But that does not mean that ADOT can ignore this problem. Many of these can be prevented with proper measures.
When will ADOT stop, listen, learn and act? For everyone’s sake, we hope this happens soon.
What action can be done if a loved one has been a victim of a wrong-way crash? Call us.
We are presently prosecuting several wrong-way fatality crashes in Maricopa County Superior Court. We have gathered a huge amount of data and will be happy to sit down with you to discuss your legal rights.